On February 4th, 1971 Rolls-Royce Ltd went into receivership following an unmanageable blow out of the development costs of the RB211 jet engine, a new larger engine which the company was developing for the new generation of wide-bodied jets, including the Lockhead Tristar. Motor car production, however, continued without interruption on the specific instructions of E.R. Nicholson who was the receiver, subsequently, he separated the motor car and diesel engine divisions from the aero engine business and in May 1973 a new public company Rolls-Royce Motors Ltd, was formed.
Within two weeks of the company going into receivership a new model was announced, more accurately, an existing model had been significantly revised and given a distinctive new model name. The H J Mulliner Park Ward Coach-built, Silver Shadow and Bentley T series cars became the Corniche, a name shared by Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars. The choice of the model designation Corniche was not a difficult one for the Company. Corniche was a name first registered by Rolls-Royce Ltd in 1939 when it was applied to a high-performance derivative of the Bentley MK V which never saw series production due to the outbreak of World War II.
The Corniche has its origins in the South of France, a part of the world with close associations with Sir Henry Royce, who carried out much of his design work at his winter home La Villa Mimosoa at Le Canadel.
Produced between 1971 and 1995, the Rolls-Royce Corniche and sister Bentley Continental was the global pinnacle in luxury personal transportation, aging gracefully and successfully carrying along the lines that first appeared in 1967 all the way through to the 1990s. It has always been a beloved automobile, from Global Royalty to the Hollywood glitterati, the car still retains its prestige and status to date.
Our car is a rare Corniche indeed being a Fixed Head Coupe which was only produced for 10 years between 1971 and 1981. What makes this car even more special is that it’s a later example which benefits from the much improved styling changes in 1976 with larger rear arches and the far more modern looking bumpers. Finished in Silver Sand over St James Red interior, this Corniche is a wonderful specimen.